Motor performance and back pain in children and adolescents: a systematic review

Matias Noll, Per Kjaer, Carolina Mendonça, Niels Wedderkopp

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background and Objective: Motor performance during childhood and adolescence is recognized as a relevant determinant of present and future health, but its effects on back pain (BP) remain unclear. In this systematic review, we aimed to identify the association between motor performance and BP in children and adolescents. Databases and Data Treatment: A literature search was performed in the MEDLINE, Scopus, Embase, SPORTDiscus and CINAHL databases. We included cross-sectional, cohort, case-control and controlled clinical trials (data from control groups). The inclusion criteria were as follows: (a) participants aged 6–19 years; (b) assessment motor performance components; (c) assessment of BP and (d) reported measures of association. The risk of bias was assessed by the Downs and Black instrument and the quality of evidence by the grading of recommendations, assessment, development and evaluation (GRADE). Results: A total of 2360 articles were identified, 25 of which were included in our systematic review. Of the 25 studies, 19 were evaluated as having a low risk of bias. GRADE indicated that 20 studies presented low or very low quality. Most of the studies evaluated flexibility (n = 16), muscle endurance (n = 18) and muscle strength (n = 9). Aerobic capacity, balance and speed were also examined in some studies (n < 5). Overall, motor performance (flexibility, muscle endurance, muscle strength, aerobic capacity, balance and speed) was not associated with BP. Most of the results were inconsistent because of the lack of studies, risk of bias and low quality of evidence. Only trunk extensor muscle endurance was associated with decreased BP with moderate quality of the supporting evidence. Prospective studies with a low risk of bias are warranted to further clarify this relationship in childhood and adolescence and findings may support more targeted and effective health promotion interventions. Significance: This systematic review shows that motor performance (flexibility, muscle endurance, muscle strength, aerobic capacity, balance and speed) was not associated with BP in children and adolescents. Most of the results were inconsistent because of the lack of studies, risk of bias and low quality of evidence. Only trunk extensor muscle endurance was associated with decreased BP with moderate quality of supporting evidence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Pain
ISSN1090-3801
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8. Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

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Keywords

  • adolescence
  • back pain
  • childhood
  • physical fitness
  • psychomotor performance
  • review
  • teenager

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